Dorcas International is currently the only agency in Rhode Island that is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to resettle refugees arriving to the U.S.
From airport pick-up to securing housing, providing cultural orientation and intensive case management, health screenings, and enrolling children in school and adults in our in-house Educating and Training Program, we serve the immediate needs of resettled refugees. Our goal is to empower recently arrived refugees by providing them with the necessary tools and information to successfully transition into their new communities. The U.S. government places refugees in 49 states by working with none private non-profit national agencies, and Dorcas International is an affiliate partner of one of these official agencies.
Who is a refugee?
To understand the refugee resettlement process, it’s important to know the definition of a “refugee.”
A refugee is a person who is forced to flee his/her home country and is unable to return to that country because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Refugees go through a rigorous interview process, which starts with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and most vulnerable cases are referred to the US Refugee Assistance Program. The processing could take years, sometimes as long as two decades, before a refugee is approved for resettlement to the U.S.
What do we do?
We respond to the immediate needs of refugees being resettled.
Our role is to offer a helping hand to families and individuals immediately upon arrival. We help them determine eligibility for benefits, navigate the healthcare system, connect them to community resources, and more.
Refugees have access to all of our services
In the long-term, refugees are intent to do what is necessary to start building new lives for themselves and their families. Newcomers have access to our Adult Education classes, job readiness trainings, and immigration and Naturalization services.
Educate the public
Part of our efforts to successfully resettle refugees is to educate communities on how to build welcoming and inclusive environments. We do this in a variety of ways — from offering trainings and public education projects to gathering and disseminating information about refugee resettlement.
Newly arrived refugees are often in great distress and need. Many have arrived with no literacy skills and significant physical or mental health issues. Often refugees have walked off the plane with only the clothes on their backs and their documents. Therefore, Refugee Resettlement depends heavily on individual and group volunteers to help new arrivals adjust to their new lives. We continuously need supplies to assist newly-arrived refugees establish homes in our community.
And each year we celebrate those who have come to resettle here by inviting the community to the Welcoming Rhode Island Festival, a free event where we celebrate all newcomers and diversity across RI.
What can I do?
There are many opportunities for you to help out. Public support takes many shapes: clothing donations, financial gifts, volunteering your time, inviting us to speak to your organizations, and simply learning more — community support is crucial to the work we do.